The grammar of wh-interpretation, scrambling and de re/de dicto distinction
Ph.D. Dissertation, 1997
This study investigates the ambiguities of w- phrases in interrogative
and declarative contexts in Korean, scrambling with semantic import, and
de re/de dicto distinction in opaque contexts. Against Diesing's (1992)
strict partition of IP/VP, I argue that the syntactic partition should
be extended to CP/IP. Within the Minimalist framework, I propose that
the motivation for extending the mapping is given by THEME. Once assigned
a THEME, an element becomes a logical subject of a categorical judgment
in the sense of Kuroda (1972). W- phrases in Korean such as nwukwu are
ambiguous between a wh-question phrase and an indefinite NP interpretation
in interrogative contexts. Moreover, they are ambiguous between a quantificational
and a nonquantificational interpretation, and between a specific and a
nonspecific interpretation. Along with the Split CP Hypothesis, I account
for the ambiguity between a wh- question and an indefinite NP interpretation
in terms of feature specification of lowerC. Furthermore, I account for
the ambiguity between a quantificational and a nonquantificational interpretation,
on the one hand, and between a specific and a nonspecific interpretation,
on the other hand, in terms of THEME feature checking. I argue that the
strength of (+Wh) is not responsible for overt wh- scrambling in Korean.
Rather, overt wh-scrambling is driven by a strong THEME feature checking;
an overtly scrambled element is understood as nonquantificational or specific.
Two points are argued concerning scrambling. One is that there exists
semantically unvacuous scrambling. The other is that such scrambling is
motivated by a formal-morphological feature THEME checking. Scrambling
with A-properties is accounted for in terms of THEME feature checking
in (Spec, lowerC) or (Spec, v P), whereas scrambling with A'-properties
is accounted for in terms of base generation in an adjunction position.
While the de re interpretation of the embedded subject of ECM constructions
is readily accounted for, that of the embedded subject of opaque contexts
cannot be straightforwardly accounted of in terms of the scope-based theory.
I argue that the THEME feature account provides a plausible syntactic
account of the de re/de dicto distinction in opaque contexts.
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